The fourth beatitude about righteousness (Mt 5:6-5:6)

“Blessed are

Those who hunger for righteousness,

Those who thirst for righteousness,

They shall be filled.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσοντ

 

The happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) were those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness (οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην).  They would not go away empty handed.  They would be satisfied or filled (ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσοντ).  Isaiah, chapter 55:1-2 has an invitation to those without money to come to drink and eat.  They could have water, wine, milk and bread.  They would enjoy themselves at this banquet.  Matthew may have been referencing Psalm 107:4-9, where Yahweh had helped a small group of lost Israelites who were hungry and thirsty, while wandering in the desert.  He satisfied their thirst and filled their hunger with good food.  In their distress, they called out to Yahweh, who heard them.  He led them in a straight path to an inhabited town.  Thus, they gave thanks to Yahweh.  So too, those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, the right way of doing things, would be satisfied or filled with this righteousness.

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Yahweh is on their side (Zech 9:14-9:15)

“Then Yahweh will appear

Over them.

His arrow goes forth

Like lightning.

Yahweh God

Will sound the trumpet.

He will march forth

In the whirlwinds of the south.

Yahweh of hosts

Will protect them.

They shall devour their enemies.

They shall tread down

Those shooting sling shot stones.

They shall drink

Their blood

Like wine.

They will be full of blood

Like a drenched bowl,

As the corners of the altar.”

Yahweh will clearly be on their side.  Yahweh was going to be like a lightning arrow.  He was going to sound the trumpet for them to march forward.  He was going to be like a whirlwind protecting them.  Thus, they would devour their enemies and tread down the sling shot shooters.  They would be so successful that they would drink the blood of their enemies like wine.  Their bowls would be so drenched with blood that it would look like the corners of the sacrificial altars in the Temple.

Question for the priests about holiness (Hag 2:11-2:12)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Ask the priests

For a ruling.

If one carries

Consecrated meat

In the fold

Of one’s garment,

Then if the fold

Of his garment,

Touches

Bread,

Or stew,

Or wine,

Or oil,

Or any kind of food,

Does it become holy?’

The priests answered.

‘No.’”

Haggai gave an example of what Yahweh was talking about.  Haggai was to ask the priests about holiness.  If someone was carrying consecrated holy meat in the fold or cover of his garment and it touched bread, stew, wine, oil, or any other kind of food, would that food then become holy by touching it?  That was the dilemma.  How could holiness be passed on?  The priests answered negatively, by saying no, because these things could not become holy by merely touching a holy thing accidently.

The ironic wine preacher (Mic 2:11-2:11)

“If someone were to go about

Uttering empty falsehoods,

Saying.

‘I will preach to you

About wine.

I will preach to you

About strong drink.’

Such a one

Would be

The preacher

For this people!”

In an ironic twist, Micah said that if someone were to preach empty lies by talking about the great value of wine and strong alcoholic drinks, then he surely would be a popular preacher among the people.

Judgment of all the countries (Joel 3:2-3:3)

“I will gather

All the nations.

I will bring them down

To the valley of Jehoshaphat.

I will enter

Into judgment

With them there.

On account of my people,

On account of my heritage,

Israel,

Because they have scattered them

Among the nations.

They have divided

My land.

They have cast lots

For my people.

They have traded boys

For prostitutes.

They have sold girls

For wine.

They have drunk it down.”

Yahweh, via Joel, said that he was going to gather all the countries of the world together in the valley of Jehoshaphat. That would have to be a big place. Actually, they were dealing with the known world of the near East at that time. Jehoshaphat means the valley of decision or the Lord judges. This was probably some place close to Jerusalem, perhaps the Kidron valley. Yahweh was going to judge these countries on what they had done to his people, his heritage, Israel. They had scattered the Israelites among the various countries. They had divided the land of Israel. They had gambled over his people, trading boys for prostitutes and selling girls for wine to get drunk on. Yahweh was going to lay down his judgment on them.

Yahweh sends abundant rain (Joel 2:23-2:24)

“O children of Zion!

Be glad!

Rejoice in Yahweh!

Your God!

He has given

The early rain

For your vindication.

He has poured down

For you

Abundant rain,

The early,

As well as the latter rain,

As before.

The threshing floors

Shall be full of grain.

The vats shall overflow

With wine.

The vats shall overflow

With oil.”

Joel reminded the children of Zion that they should rejoice and be glad in Yahweh, their God, because he has given them plenty of rain, both the early and later rain, just like before the locust attack. Thus, the threshing floors would be full of grain. The vats or containers for the wine and the oil from the vines and trees would be overflowing.

Yahweh was going to provide for them (Joel 2:19-2:19)

“In response to his people,

Yahweh said.

‘I am sending you

Grain,

Wine,

Oil.

You will be satisfied.

I will no more make you

A mockery

Among the nations.’”

Joel said that Yahweh responded to his people. Yahweh was going to send them grain, wine, and oil, so that they would be satisfied. They would no longer be a mockery among the various countries.